Before the sun rises, zero hour when the operator’s blood quickens, before the first rays of light strike over the horizon, four B-1Bs taxied on the runway.

Skeletal black, like obsidian arrows of some dark god, they fired up their four turbo fan engines.

Cold War warriors marshaling well into the new century. Bellies pregnant, 42,000 pounds of bombs carried to a final destination.

Major Thomas opened her up, accelerating hard down the runway into a steep take off. He and his three crew men slammed into their seats.

Two seconds later, they broke through the low stratus cloud cover to sail over a vista of the vast blackness streaking towards daybreak.

The B-1s were in the air.



Dimitri looked at the night sky, far above the skyscrapers, past the smog, beyond the atmosphere. A million miles away from this dirty alley floor, stars went supernova and died; in some other distant nebula, stars were being born. This and much more happened up there beyond the thin envelope of air encasing his home. All this was unknown to Dimitri as he crept along on his toes making no sound.

Man, this town has gone to shit. Fucking people can’t sense danger about. Then when they see it…POW! Fucking panic. Can’t believe I got stuck here. Oh no! I thought it was all great, those domestic pussies let out one last time. That fucking ginger slut; I chased that all over the block. And now here I am running for cover; now shit has gone right down the tubes.

At a sound, Dimitri crouched on all fours and skittered under a dumpster. Something evil-smelling was coming his way.

A tittering in the darkness, so dark even Dimitri’s keen eyes could not penetrate it. A shivering wracked Dimitri through to his bones. The smell of vile corruption and filth made his nose run. Vertical slits dilated as he prepared to fight.

Then it was gone.

And that’s another fucking thing: the goddamn creepers, all teeth and blood thirst. They’ve been killing everything around here. Why, if I were bigger I’d—

Something big dropped down onto the dumpster above him.

A massive thump shook his hidey hole.

A clawed hand, skin worn away showing bone, grabbed for Dimitri. He batted at it claws out and darted backward from underneath the dumpster. Running along the wall behind the row of dumpsters, Dimitri shot into an old drainage pipe. Whiskers guided him along its pitch blackness just wide enough to admit his slim white and gray body.

Fuckfuckfuckfuck! Motherfucker.

He came to rest beneath a storm grate and waited sides heaving, eyes wide. He gulped, the fear making him dry retch.

Then he saw beady red eyes glowing in the darkness of another drain pipe.

Okay, motherfucker, I’m going to pull your guts out.

The eyes stopped five feet away and the thing behind the eyes squeaked, “Leave us be, Mister Cat! We want no fight, we want no be lunch.”

“What do you mean ‘we?’” Dimitri hissed.

In the pipe behind the speaker, a myriad of other beady eyes sparkled.

“Oh,” Dimitri yowled.

The pipe disgorged a column of slimy sewer rats; dozens of matted, furry bodies squirmed towards Dimitri.

Their leader a grizzled, scarred-up old bastard missing an ear.

Dimitri hissed again.

The old bastard was almost as big as him.

The old bastard swiveled his head towards Dimitri and squeaked, “But maybe we make a lunch of your pussy guts!”

Dimitri had had enough and bolted down another drain outlet, away from the shrieking nightmare hoard of the shitters.

In the dark, he crawled along, the pitch blackness reducing him to touch, sound, and smell. The last one got him: blood, salty, thick and clotted, was carried on the omnipresent draft from ahead.

This was not the smell of rat, squirrel, chipmunk, nor of beef animal, pork, or fish.

Shit, this is bad juju. What can kill them? They do not bleed, they never bleed, they never go hungry, they eat everything. Their minds are cunning and impenetrable. And they are being butchered.

This was a recent smell in Dimitri’s world, the red gruel of the people, the two-legged lords of the earth.

It scared the shit out of Dimitri.

He held his position turning his ears this way and that. Five years on the streets taught him to be wary of everything.

Though the notches of his ears and nicks in his hide said otherwise.

His keen ears picked up the sound of a huge thing skittering on the pavement above him. A thing that sometimes walked on two legs, and sometimes loped on all four.

It stopped above him, claws raked at the blacktop.

Dimitri ghosted the fuck out of there, paws dipping into the blood that covered the floor of the pipe.

He traveled along the pipe until he saw dim light ahead and above. Dimitri found another storm grate. Quickly, he shimmed out onto the street and bound to the nearest shadow.

It was then he realized where he was.

The fish market! Rub-a-dub-dub, time to get some grub.

Dimitri leapt to a windowsill he knew and slipped through a broken windowpane.

I feel like some orange roughy tonight.

His paws crunched on the crushed ice in the case and he sheared off a big piece of delectable raw white flesh.

After he had eaten his fill, he slunk off to the back and found a place to curl up for a cat nap.

Sleeping in the city of death, he dreamt of better times.


Who is this? He remembers opening his eyes to see the big bearded face, a furry face white as snow. The jolly old man with rosy cheeks and shining eyes, living all alone, feeding him cans of tuna, the evening beer, and sitting on the old man’s lap as he watched Fox News or Animal Planet.

Dimitri looking with interest at the Amazonian jaguar catching some fish. Dimitri meowed, Look look hooman, big cats on the light show, so green there the jungles.

“That’s right, Dimmy cat, you see your wild cousins?” The old man stroked Dimitri’s head. No one ever came to see the old man. Until that night.

The dark-skinned ones kicked in the door.

Dimitri jumped off the old man’s lap and hid under the coffee table like a chickenshit, hissing.

Bats, they beat his face in, they smashed the coffee table.

“Where’s da money, you cracker foo’!”

“No! That was my mother’s; please, it’s worthless.”

The wet thud of wood hitting meat.

One of the dark-skinned ones grabbed Dimitri’s tail.

Let go! Let go! Leave us alone!

Dimitri bit and hissed ripping deep in the leather like hand.

“Fucking racist white cat,” the dark-skinned one yelled. He swung the bat with his off-hand. And missed.

“Leave my cat alone, you fucking nigger!”

“Dafuq you’d say, old debil!”

Bits of white stuff flew from the old man’s mouth when the bat caromed into it.

No! No! NO!

Dimitri fled into the night, into the streets, never to live in domestic tranquility again.


He woke from his fitful sleep.

Stretching out, his joints creaked.

He ate again.

And napped again.

Then spent 20 minutes tongue-cleaning his butthole.

And napped again (most of the fish were going off).


The day’s light had faded into a summer blood red.

Daylight. It is safe to stay above ground in the daylight.

Dimitri padded along the deserted streets, tiny kin to the jungle cat.

He spied a flock of pigeons and snuck up to them.

They stood around pecking at whatever they could find on the ground.

“Shit ‘n’ eat, shit ‘n’ eat.”

“I want some seeds, you see some seeds? Tasty seed.”

“Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop ‘n’ peck.”

And so the squadron of aerial crap machines carried on unaware.

Silently, inch by inch, Dmitri closed in.

One fat pigeon fluttered around cooing, “Gosh golly, I’s gots to get me some nice sunflower seeds.”

In a flash of bounding fur and flying feather, Dimitri seized fatty.

The flock lit into the air.

Dimitri broke his neck and dug into his guts, muzzle covered in gore.

Gunshots and explosions rang out nearby.

A stray mortar blew the hell out of a planter 50 yards away, sending debris Dimitri’s way.

He ran for cover.

Peering out from the shadows, he saw men.

Drab armored men bearing rifles, boots carefully shuffling along the ground, on the hunt.

The sweat and blood-laced B.O. hit Dimitri’s nose; he drew back in tighter to the shadows.

The whites of his eyes standing out against the gray and black grease paint on his face, a soldier spotted Dimitri.

They locked eyes, hunter to hunter.

The soldier put his finger to his lips and went, “Ssssshhhhh.”

Then they disappeared into an apartment complex basement.

Another damn thing; soldiers tearing up the whole town.

Gunshots receded into the distance as he cleaned his face and paws from the blood.

And napped again.


Through the evening shadows, he crept. To Dimitri, his motives were becoming unknown. No street lights flickered on to greet him and usher in the night.

Only red light cut the darkness.

Towards distant sounds, he moved.

Somewhat familiar in nature, it reminded him of the world he left so long ago. Moving along a back alley, he skirted a basement window.

Not fast enough.

His wide field of view caught a thing looking out from below.

Dark hollow eyes set in an ashen face, its nostrils flared as it worked its jaw back and forth, shark-like teeth chattering.

Dimitri looked back at it. He hissed, “Motherfucker.”

It raked its finger along the glass and turned its eyes towards the sun’s fading rays.

“Soon pussy, soon,” it said in wet sibilants, blood dribbling down its chin.

Dimitri booked it the fuck out of there.

Shooting under a burned-out car, something big and fast hit him from above.

Claws raked his ear.

Dimitri flipped onto his back and lashed out.

His claws dug into the soft fur of his opponent.

He caught a whiskered face and ripped.

Dimitri kicked out and rolled away.

He yowled, “Sam, you motherfucker! Get back or I’ll fuck you up.”

Sam glared back at him, his one good eye narrowing. The other long rotted away from injury and infection. Sam arched his back, making himself even bigger than his massive twelve pounds of street-born tabby muscle.

“I told you; stay out of my alley!” Sam hissed back, “I don’t need some sissy housecat pussying it up.”

Dimitri spat out, “Fucking your alley!? Ain’t nobody own shit in this town except THEM!”

“Wrong, pussy. I will always be king of this alley.”

Dimitri pounced onto Sam’s neck, eye teeth biting deep into the nape. Claws sunk deep into Sam’s shoulders.

They exploded into a fury of teeth and claws, a whirling nightmare of flying fur and blood.

Dimitri used his quick advantage to escape.

Sam, close on his heels, yowled out, “Run, you pussy motherfucker! You fucking housecat! You never belonged on the streets!”

Losing breath, Sam huffed and puffed to a stop as Dimitri scampered up a fire escape.

Dimitri kept going until he surmounted the building.

Far below, he could see the neighborhood.

He turned his ears this way and that way. Scanning for the sounds. His ears directed him to a cathedral a mile away.

A flight of UH-60 helicopters passed overhead.

Dimitri crouched low and slunk the parapet towards the cathedral.

He came to a span between the buildings.

Dimitri scanned the distance.

Close call. I’ve got this. I’ve got to do this. I can do this.

He coiled himself up.

Limber muscles knotted together in perfect timing.

Unlimbered, he sprung and sailed into the air.

A gray-and-white feline acrobat, he stretched himself, paws out, claws extended, and hit the edge of the next building.

In a panic, he thrashed at the exterior wall before he was propelled up and over the parapet.

Dimitri shook himself off and set to cleaning his paws and face when he heard a whisper, “Gomez, check it out.”
Dimitri froze and stared at the compact soldier who popped around the corner, rifle at the ready.

“Just a cat, guys,” the soldier said, relaxed lowering his rifle.

He turned to Dimitri. “Hey there, big guy, you running from something?”

Dimitri sat on his haunches and meowed, “No, Mr. Hooman,”

The soldier scanned the roof Dimitri had come from.

His eyes worked their way down to the alley.

“Okay, cat, get!” the soldier said in a harsh whisper.

Dimitri meowed, “No. Can I come with you hoomans?” He followed the soldier back to his fire team.

“Gomez, pack it in, we’re outta here in five. And what’s that?” the sergeant said.

Gomez looked at Dimitri. “It looks like an American domestic short-hair, sergeant.”


For all installments of “Felis,” click here.